The threat of explosive devices continues to increase in the Central African Republic: at least 15 civilians killed between January and October 2021.
The number of people who received a cash intervention between January and September 2021 has already exceeded the number of people assisted in the past year.
CAR remains one of the most dangerous places for humanitarian workers with 344 incidents affecting them between January and September 2021.
Humanitarian actors helped 1.4 million people in CAR during the first half of 2021 in an increasingly volatile security context.
Giving a voice to those affected by conflict
In the Central African Republic, 3.1 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection. Of these, 2.2 million people have such complex and severe needs that their physical and mental well-being is threatened. Assessments and assessments conducted by humanitarian organizations help determine the extent of people’s needs, understand those needs and define response plans. To develop appropriate community programs, humanitarian actors also collect feedback from affected communities on the assistance they have received. This feedback is crucial because it puts affected people at the center of the humanitarian response. Assistance can then be adjusted and improved, where needed.
A cross-cutting question
As part of the Intercluster Coordination Group (ICCG), the Affected People Accountability Working Group (AAP) ensures the establishment and monitoring of collective mechanisms for community engagement and accountability to affected communities. The working group produces regular analyzes of comments, complaints and requests for information from those concerned with the aim of identifying trends in satisfaction, priority needs and preventing the spread of disinformation. The Working Group then advises humanitarian partners through national and regional coordination mechanisms on appropriate actions to be taken in response to community feedback. Where to find help ? Where to complain if you were injured while receiving humanitarian aid? Where can I find the right information? How is humanitarian action perceived in affected communities? These are some of the questions the AAP Task Force helps answer.
Humanitarian partners have set up information and feedback centers at sites for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Bria, Kaga-Bandoro and Bambari, all located in the center of the CAR. In “listening clubs”, through kiosks selling films and music, and via interactive radio programs in Bria, Bambari, Kaga-Bandoro, Bangassou, Obo and ZÃ©mio, specially trained staff collect information from communities and, in return, provides those communities with information that can save lives. Various assessments carried out this year have shown that populations in general, as well as beneficiaries of humanitarian aid, feel that they are not sufficiently informed about humanitarian aid, the criteria for receiving aid and access to services. humanitarian organizations (Multisectoral needs assessment 2021).
Improve feedback and complaint mechanisms
In September 2021, the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) automated the joint inter-agency feedback and complaints mechanisms led by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in partnership with the NGO Intersos on a site for internally displaced people in Bria, in the Haute-Kotto prefecture. Located in eastern CAR, the IDP site – known as PK3 – is home to the country’s largest displaced population with nearly 39,000 people (Population Movement Commission, September 2021). Using customer relationship management software also used in the banking industry, trained agents confidentially record complaints and comments from displaced people on tablets connected to the Internet. The information is then automatically transmitted to the humanitarian organizations concerned by the experience feedback or the complaint, considerably speeding up the process. In the past, such processes were done manually, for example with notes placed in suggestion boxes, which limited the feedback mechanism to those who could write and limited the speed of responses.
The ETC has also set up five telephone booths at the IDP site in Bria to allow people affected by the crisis to communicate with their families and to call humanitarian assistance lines free of charge. Cell phones are the primary means of contact for displaced families. On average, one in five IDPs owns a mobile phone, according to an ETC assessment, while four in 10 IDPs pay to make calls. Charging stations for mobile phones have also been installed by the ETC on the PK3 site in Bria, which can be used free of charge. By promoting free and secure access to mobile communications, these services provide essential access to information for those affected. In Bria, half of the population faces obstacles in receiving information, in particular due to the lack of radio or telephone (Multisectoral needs assessment 2021).
While IDPs at the PK3 site in Bria now have access to handy information as well as opportunities to provide commentary on humanitarian aid, this is not yet the case in other parts of the CAR. Staff to support common feedback mechanisms are gradually being trained and infrastructure put in place by the humanitarian community, based on lessons learned and using available resources.